Monday, May 13, 2013
Please, Pass the Rice.
My uncle Butsoy cooked this yummy paella. Just one of the ways we can cook rice.
You see, there is this long running joke at home that I just laughed and shrugged off. But since Cedric came to live with us, the joke haunts us almost every meal time. In the surface it's hilarious, but deep down we know it is driving Ken crazy.
“We are having rib-eye steak tonight? So what will you have with it? Hmmm... don't tell me, let me guess... is it by any chance rice???" We know it is driving him mental because he would then ask “don't you eat anything else?”
How do you explain to a non-Filipino that we are rice eaters first, second and last. That rice is central to our lives. That it is normal for Cedric and me to demolished a 25 kg bag of rice in a month because we eat rice with everything. Rice with beef, pork, chicken, noodles, fish. We could even pile on one plate rice with pasta and bread and eat it in same sitting.
I wish Ken had come with me when I went home last March so he will see first hand the Filipino obsession with rice. It would have been fun to witness his reaction when he see more varieties of rice in the market than just about everywhere. He might be filled with disbelief to know that some of my countrymen would prefer to be paid with just rice. Give a Filipino some bread and they will still be hungry, give them rice and they are happy.
I remember those rare days when money were tight. My three boys had to do with eating a heap of rice with one puny stick of skewered burnt marinated pork, using a ratio of one tiny morsel of this dish with 4-5 tablespoons of rice. Sometimes it's two plates of steaming hot rice with microscopic menudo, shrinking sinigang and invisible adobo. They definitely have become an expert in stretching a single ulam to go with their rice.
I love rice, as any true-blooded Filipino does. I love garlic too. Although I don’t like it in my breath. But I like making garlic fried rice in the morning with my over-easy egg and bacon. And just imagine how Ken would roll his eyes at the sight of it. He prefer buttered toast with his egg and bacon. Of course!
When we go out to eat, most of the time Ken choose the venue because he wants to be served and waited on. But on occasions that he asked me to pick the place, I always picked the Chinese buffet because of the vast array of food and a choice of fried and plain rice. My son, like any typical Filipino would stacked his plate with two or three kinds of dish and a heaping mound of rice as if preparing for the Hunger Games. Ken could just shake his head.
My two other boys are no different. They prefer to eat in a restaurant that offer unlimited rice. They did not fret when we ate at a Kentucky outlet and all that was left in the bucket was a tiny chicken wing as long as there was still rice. They just pour gravy onto the rice and wadya know this thick brown goo had turned into an ulam(dish).
Gravy on rice? Ken, you gotta see this!